Commentary: Assault weapons must be banned

Miami Police Chief John Timoney is not one to shy from a fight. He's found a formidable adversary in the National Rifle Association.

In remarks on the carnage wrought by a gunman shooting up a large group of party goers, some of them also armed, in Overtown early Monday morning, Chief Timoney noted that one of the guns used was an AK-47.

"This is Washington's problem," said Mr. Timoney, referring to the federal ban on the sale of assault weapons, such as the AK-47, that Congress let lapse in 2007. Cowed by the NRA, Democrats and Republicans alike caved to the group's political strong-arming by failing to muster the votes to uphold the sensible, life-saving ban.

Actually, it's Tallahassee's problem, too. The state Legislature is as captive to the gun lobby as its counterparts in Washington.

When counties began approving regulations on gun sales, Florida lawmakers passed a law that prohibits local governments from enacting gun-control ordinances. More recently the Legislature made it legal for employees to keep guns in their car while at work despite the strong opposition of the business lobby.

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